Process for selection of WTO top slot begins

New Delhi, Jan 26 | Updated: Jan 27 2005, 05:30am hrs
The process for selection of the new director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was officially kicked off in Geneva on Wednesday, with all the four aspirants to the post announcing their candidatures to the world bodys 148-member general council.

Peres Castillo, former ambassador of Uruguay to WTO, Sexias Correa, current ambassador of Brazil to WTO, Jayakrishna Cutteree, trade minister of Mauritiius all representing the developing world as well as the high-profile former EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy, the lone respresentative of the developed world, threw their hats in.

Supachai Panitchpakdi, the current DG who was deputy premier of Thailand, will lay office on August 31 this year.

A source in Geneva said that none of the four candidates were said to have a definite edge as of now, with major groupings like G-20 yet to make their choice clear. Barring the Africa-Carribbean-Pacific bloc which announced its decision to support Cutterees candidature, no other bloc has shown its cards, the source added.

In their presentations, Castillo and Cutteree made it clear that they would not want the DGs post to be shared, and was pitching for a full term.

Both of them pledged to conclude the Doha Round of negotiations by 2006 and particularly sought the support of the members from the developing world.

They underscored the importance of having a developing country representative at the helm of WTO, as the crucial negotiations on modalities were set to begin. It may be noted that follwing the collapse of the Cancun ministerial, the World Trade Organisation members had reached a framework agreement for furthering talks on the Doha Agenda last year. The new DG would play a crucial role in the Hong Kong ministerial in December this year.